Plant diversity improves protection against soil-borne pathogens by fostering antagonistic bacterial communities

Latz, E and Eisenhauer, N and Rall, B C and et al, . (2012) Plant diversity improves protection against soil-borne pathogens by fostering antagonistic bacterial communities. Journal of Ecology. 8 pp..

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1. Rhizosphere bacteria antagonistic to fungal pathogens improve plant performance by preventing infection. In temperate grasslands, primary productivity often increases with plant diversity, and we hypothesized that this effect may in part rely on the interactions between plants and antagonistic bacteria. 2. We investigated the impact of plant diversity and functional group composition on soil bacteria producing the antifungal compounds 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG) and pyrrolnitrin (PRN) in a long-term grassland biodiversity experiment, as well as their impact on soil suppressiveness. Soil suppressiveness was investigated in a model infection assay with Beta vulgaris and the pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. 3. The abundance of DAPG and PRN producers increased with plant diversity and that of PRN also increased in the presence of grasses. Moreover, legume species richness and coverage decreased the abundance of DAPG and PRN producers, respectively, contrary to beneficial effects of legumes on soil microorganisms reported previously. In turn, soil suppressiveness was at maximum when DAPG and PRN producer abundance was high. 4. Synthesis. Our results suggest that plant diversity contributes to plant community resistance against pathogens by fostering beneficial bacterial communities. This indirect soil feedback mechanism may contribute to the positive relationship between plant diversity and productivity and could also help the development of more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural management strategies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank numerous people who helped to establish and manage the experimental field site, particularly, the coordinator A. Weigelt and the gardeners S. Eismann, S. Hengelhaupt, S. Junghans, U. Ko¨ ber, K. Kuntze and H. Scheffler. We additionally thank N. Nitschke for preparing and providing the cover data and W. W. Weisser for helpful comments on the manuscript. The Jena Experiment is funded by the German Science Foundation (FOR456). We thank M. Varrelmann and A. Walter (IfZ, Go¨ ttingen) for providing R. solani barley inoculums and sugar beet seeds. Further, we thank the anonymous referees for constructive comments that improved our manuscript considerably.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol;biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship;plant–microbe interactions;plant–soil (below-ground) interactions;Pseudomonas fluorescens;pyrrolnitrin;soil feedbacks;soil suppressiveness
Author Affiliation: Georg August University Göttingen, J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Berliner Str. 28, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
Subjects: Crop Improvement
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2012 06:20
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 06:20
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